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Open mike 03/02/2021

Written By: - Date published: 6:00 am, February 3rd, 2021 - 85 comments
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For announcements, general discussion, whatever you choose.

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85 comments on “Open mike 03/02/2021 ”

  1. Adrian Thornton 1

    Very good interview regarding Navalny, probably worth watching if this story has any interest to you…

    Putin and Navalny Both Represent Big Russian Capital – Alexander Buzgalin

    • Treetop 1.1

      I have seen it time and time again leaders who are addicted to power and they will cross the line to keep it.

    • Brigid 1.2

      "Russian opposition figure Alexey Navalny’s suspended sentence in the Yves Rocher embezzlement case has been converted to 3 years and 6 months behind bars, TASS reports from the courtroom.

      "Despite the preventive measures taken with him, Navalny repeatedly violated his deadlines for reporting to the inspection. The court considers the motion of the [Russian] Federal Penitentiary Service to be satisfied," judge Natalya Repnikova announced the decision."


      • Adrian Thornton 1.2.1

        Yes, as usual RNZ and western media in general display their utter and almost total inability to contextualise important international news…and they wonder why so many people don't trust the news they feed them.

        The Manufacturing Consent model has become almost total in MSM.

  2. Stuart Munro 2

    A possible flash point for international conflict – the Crimea is running out of water.

    • francesca 2.1

      Interesting that now the Ukrainians see Crimean citizens as their enemy .Why block water to people they see as being occupied by Russia?

      • francesca 2.1.1

        And of course, rivers that flow through Ukraine, like the Dnieper, have their headwaters in Russia.

        Tit for tat could see Ukraine without water for their hydro and much of their water needs

        Still, why is Kiev punishing the very people it believes to be its own citizens!

        • Stuart Munro

          That would no doubt have much to do with the high proportion of Russian military that have been deployed to the area – as they were prior to the seizure. https://www.rferl.org/a/russia-ukraine-crimea/29790037.html These at least are no Crimean citizens.

          It remains to be seen how far the US will go to prevent a full scale Russian invasion of the Ukraine – but at least Putin's bootlicker Trump is out of the picture for a bit, and can't roll over in response to Russian aggression as he no doubt would have done.

          It must be tempting to US interests to interdict Russian expansionism at the Crimean chokepoint rather than let its corrosive influence permeate through Syria and the like.

    • Jimmy 3.1

      Very sad, but he will certainly be remembered for all the good he did. 100 is a great innings.

    • Adrian 3.2

      Its a telling indictment of British governance now that Hitler and his cohort couldn't kill Sir Tom Moore but Boris Fucking Johnson could.

      • Muttonbird 3.2.1

        It highlights the laissez-faire attitude the British have toward Covid-19.

      • Nic the NZer 3.2.2

        Your (of course) holding our PM responsible for the 25 deaths in NZ?

        • Adrian

          The Ardern Labour governments superb response has limited deaths from covid to 25, Boris Fucking Johnsons inept, arrogant, public school ingrained stupidity has killed off 107,000, the UK toll under the NZ response would have been about 350.

      • Jimmy 3.2.3

        The guy was 100 years old and had pneumonia but you're blaming Boris for his death?

        • anker

          I thought Captain Tom was in hospital with Covid. The pneumonia surely a result of that.

          I hold the govt responsible that we have only had 25 deaths. They responded swiftly and superbly to a novel virus. We are extremely fortunately it has only been 25.

          My absolute sympathy to those people who lost their love ones. We can thank our Govt that the country is experiencing mass grief at the moment.

  3. Adrian Thornton 4

    Sadly RNZ and most other NZ news outlets make this their lead story, but of course never do a serious story or even a small story on this…time to just admit RNZ has become nothing more than a news/entertainment outlet for teenagers and adults who can't be bothered thinking for themselves…..

    The Tories' new trade bill means the NHS is now unquestionably up for sale

    By rejecting Labour’s proposed amendments, the government has left our health service at the mercy of hungry US corporations


  4. Incognito 5


    The problem: a plethora of fiefdoms run and ruled by managers.

    The solution: a bigger, more powerful centralised fiefdom to rule them all.


    • Pat 5.1

      One would have expected that to be a basic function of the MoH

      • Incognito 5.1.1

        Nah, we have to wait till National and ACT lead Government and bring back Steven Joyce and Rodney Hide to merge MBIE and MoH into one giant Super-Ministry called Big Bertha.

        Nobody in power likes to share data, information, or knowledge in fear of giving up power & control. Transparency and accountability are PR speak for giving the great unwashed their daily amnesia pill and the bread and circuses provided by MSM and SM do the rest. Have we won the AC yet?

    • RedLogix 5.2

      We’ve heard about this issue on an off for decades, but the big factor that's different this time is the ageing workforce. Across so many technical and professional specialisations we're losing people to retirement that are simply not being replaced in sufficient numbers.

      At present you can roughly divide adults into three almost equal cohorts, a 20-40 group who're relatively unskilled but energetic and growing their lives, 40-60 who've now become more skilled and productive and are investing heavily for their old age – and then over 60 who now find themselves actively shunted into retirement and become consumers of their capital. (If they have any that is.)

      There are two paths we can consider. One is to address more forcefully the absurd ageism that's rife in the employment market. Everyone knows and everyone does it, yet we pretend it's somehow ok and 'what are you whinging about now boomer'? That would expand the availability of already skilled and capable people later into their lives.

      The second more approach we need to be thinking about is how to get younger workers up to speed and more productive earlier in their careers. Get people up into that 'skilled high value bracket' by their early 30's instead of their 40's. More employer investment into automation and in career training are the obvious plays here.

      The point is our demographics are changing in ways our societies have never experienced before – and we'll need to start considering doing things in response we're not accustomed to.

      • Pat 5.2.1

        Lets assume the premise is correct….I shake my head every time I hear some office wallah extolling the virtues of working past retirement age…in many occupations it is quite simply typically impossible if not downright dangerous.

        • Descendant Of Smith

          There actually needs to be a stock assessment of all the workforces as to their age cohorts. This isn't occurring just in Health – building, engineering, farming, carpet laying …. there is a long list.

          Should be easy to be done centrally by industry first using IRD wage and salary data as a starting point – I think only IRD would have where you work and what industry it is in.

          That would allow some focus after that on occupations. All the info should be made public and accessible and updated monthly if possible so industries can examine where they are at and plan accordingly. This is where government should be able to shine – the provision of timely, quality bulk data.

          • Pat

            Agree it is a reported issue in many workforces and in the near term it is only going to get worse. I would have thought it will have been an issue widely canvassed in Labour's Future of Work study…..then again perhaps not.

        • RedLogix

          Yes it's true that as we age the nature of what we can do well also changes – but the idea that somehow we become suddenly useless at 65 is just nuts. Adaptation is always possible.

          • Pat

            who said useless?….I think I said "in many occupations it is typically impossible if not downright dangerous'.

            I have witnessed countless guys struggling through the final years of their working life trying to hide the fact the job is too much for them (physically) any longer and the impact it has on their health…many of them decided it wasnt possible any longer and didnt make retirement age in the industry.

            • RedLogix

              All true but not obviously relevant to the 'skilled technical and professional' groups we're talking about here.

              • Pat

                Not so sure about that….with increasing workloads on the existing cohort 'burn out' and mental health appear to be an issue…certainly in the primary health field.

                And the world dosnt run solely on skilled technical and professional groups….such as it runs.

      • Ad 5.2.2

        We are just going to have to consult back to the major firms for 2 days a week.

        Agree both New Zealand and Australia are fast-ageing societies, and the skills planning largely consists of propping up polytechs.

        • RedLogix

          One good friend here put it to me like this – employers know you can still do the job, but they also intuitively sense that as you got older not only did the tide of bullshit keep rising, but your tolerance for it diminished.

          And the two trends crossed over for you about two years ago devil

          • Ad


          • Anne

            … employers know you can still do the job, but they also intuitively sense that as you got older not only did the tide of bullshit keep rising, but your tolerance for it diminished.

            yes yes

        • Nic the NZer

          "Agree both New Zealand and Australia are fast-ageing"

          To which galaxy are we going?

          • Ad

            To a land in which economists are useless and confounded.

            No one, not even the most optimistic, thought headline unemployment would fall to 4.9%, the underutilisation rate (even seasonally adjusted) falls to 11.9%, and now the fifth highest employment rate for those 15-64 in the OECD.


            • AB

              Clearly – they were holding the chicken entrails upside down at the time of their predictions. Hence the gobsmackery they have just experienced. No worries, normal transmission will soon be resumed, and along with it, their accustomed air of authority.

            • Sanctuary

              Falling unemployment, growing economy, rising wages. Labour's best in the world covid response continues.

              Makes you wonder if we ever really needed all those annoying tourists messing the place up.

            • Nic the NZer

              I would be very cautiously about the desirable level of economic forecasting certainty.

              In no time at all following 2008-2010 the Key government had control of the narrative, unemployment in NZ was relatively low and spending was being slowed towards surplus regardless whos pocket book that cut into.

              Clearly from events we now know the country could have afforded to be much more supportive, and that also applies to Jacindas first term. But it still took 2020 to shake the sureity with which the country carried on at the time.

              • Ad

                Last time we had anything like an economic narrative was 2002. An attempt at least.

                Since then it's been simply crisis response. 2020 is no exception.

                Grand narratives are grand, I recall Paul Ricoeur saying, because what they narrate is the work of the social imaginary itself. No one is proposing a New Zealand state with that scale of agency.

      • McFlock 5.2.3

        From the ones I've know professionally and personally, doctors don't retire due to age.

        They seem to retire either so they can ignore the daily bs and do their own research or healthcare-related thing, or so they can live in Otago or Nelson (sometimes with grapes involved).

  5. Tricledrown 6

    Technology will make up the labour skills short fall weather there is enough of a tax base to fund retirees is another matter.

    • Descendant Of Smith 6.1

      It is why quality jobs are important that pay well. If GDP rises on the basis of added value/high profit then anything is affordable – if GDP rises on the basis of low paid jobs like tourism then it is much more of a struggle.

      The problem is we've chased low paying work.

      I think what companies like Tait could have done with good investment in those early days of cell-phones, etc. We potentially could have been leading the world in cell-phone technology.

      On the other hand we are starting to see us leading in things like agricultural robotics.

      • Stuart Munro 6.1.1

        The problem is we've chased low paying work.

        It's more that the wretchedly worthless clowns in Treasury and Immigration and Education have chased low-paying work on our behalf. We ought to have a professionalised society along Scandinavian lines, and would but for the larding of our civil services with Brash-selected failures addicted to Chicago School nonsense instead of the pragmatism that used to make our country effective.

        Had a long yarn with a semi-retired former DSIR bloke the other day. The civil service has gone from bad to worse, with gyres of managers producing nothing but friction stymying the work that needs to be done at every turn. And for Callahan Innovation, his scorn was withering. The cheese has been pared a little too often, so development has stalled – except in the safest of all sectors, property speculation.

        But hey – 900 Kiribatians the other day – undercutting wages and setting worker exploitation in concrete until the present generation of corrupt MPs retire. Our economy will follow that of the American south – hollowed out by slave-depressed wages and the worthless spawn of entitlement non-working rentiers breed.

  6. Anne 7

    A new Russian Covid vaccine is showing signs of being very effective and they expect to have 1.4 billion doses available this year.

    Another possible source of vaccine for NZ to consider in the near future? Or will it be turned down cos, you know… Russia.


    • Enough is Enough 7.1

      We are in no hurry to get our hands on the vaccine so I don't expect the government will be talking to Russia about it.

      • Anne 7.1.1

        We are in no hurry to get our hands on the vaccine…

        That's not the impression I have. Hipkins has exhibited frustration about the current situation and has been in daily contact with the providers. They are very concerned.

    • McFlock 7.2

      Now that it's finally gone through phase 3 trials, it's probably as copacetic as the others.

      It was, shall we say, a 'bold move' cut cut corners as significantly as they did, though. A bit like lauching a moon mission without thoroughly testing the engines that would get you off the rock and back home.

      • Brigid 7.2.1

        "cut corners as significantly as they did" They did? Care to elucidate?


        "In the first week of February, vaccination with Sputnik V will start in the following 12 countries: Bolivia, Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan, Palestine, UAE, Paraguay, Hungary, Armenia, Algeria, Bosnian Serb Republic, Venezuela and Iran."


        • Efficacy of Sputnik V against COVID-19 was reported at 91.6%.

          • Analysis included data on 19,866 volunteers, who received both the first and second doses of the Sputnik V vaccine or placebo at the final control point of 78 confirmed COVID-19 cases.
          • Efficacy in the elderly group of 2,144 volunteers over 60 years old was 91.8% and did not differ statistically from the 18-60 group.



        Lancet analysis and report:


        • McFlock

          Well, yes they did cut corners.

          Russia started dispensing it on 5 December. That's only ten days after they recruited their cohort for the first half of their phase 3 trials. Given that the trials looked at recipients for 21 days after their shot, let me be clear on this: they started distributing the vaccine before even the interim phase 3 trial results had been produced.

          As opposed to Oxford–AstraZeneca, for which the interim phase 3 results were announced on 23 November and the first non-trials distribution was on 4 Jan 2021.

          Whether that was a calculated risk by the Russians when faced with a pandemic and an extremely promising (if untested) vaccine, or simply a prestige-based move based on a fair bet nothing will go massively wrong with it, that's up in the air.

          • Brigid

            That's some knot you've tied yourself in there McFlock

            • McFlock

              Starting general distribution before large scale results are in isn't cutting corners?

              What were they going to do if the trial had some adverse events – unvaccinate everyone?

      • Anne 7.2.2

        Thanks for the new word copacetic to add to my vocab. library. 😉

        Maybe they did cut a few corners but they would have been informed enough to know the risk was worth taking. Whatever… it provides those countries who would not be able to afford the more expensive vaccines a chance to vaccinate their citizens. That is is a damned good thing for everyone.

        • McFlock

          I mean, I'm not saying they were distributing something they thought was likely to go wrong, quite the reverse.

          But phase three trials exist for a reason, even though they're expensive. Something gets to phase three if folks are pretty darn sure it will work and be safe, but not every drug or device passes them.

          This one seems to be coming out ok.

  7. francesca 8

    Astra Zeneca has teamed up with Sputnik to improve its efficacy


    We're signed up with Astra Zeneca so will likely get Sputnik embedded

    Both are much cheaper than the vaccines invented by mega pharmaceutical companies

  8. Chris 10

    In the midst of news unemployment figures dropping and average wages increasing Federated Farmers say 'finding and retaining staff is a headache for its members'.


    Perhaps if farmers and the rest of the agriculture and horticulture industries stopped relying on paying the minimum wage or less they wouldn't find getting workers so difficult.

    • Ad 10.1

      It's a near-perfect storm for leveraging wage prices up, with few students, few temporary seasonal workers, very few tourist visas and wine and apple harvest coming around the corner.

      That Living Wage target sure appears achievable with this amount of market pressure.

      • Chris 10.1.1

        Just a shame the living wage isn't much more than the minimum wage.

        • Ad

          We are a low-wage, low investment, low productivity economy.

          So you take the leverage when you find it.

          For workers, this is the most Goldilocks moment we've had in a decade.

          • Stuart Munro

            We are a low-wage, low investment, low productivity economy.

            For which we can thank the unevolved economists of Treasury.

            • Ad

              Successive governments chose this state for us for us since at least Holyoake.

              • Stuart Munro

                Holyoake didn't can free education, kill the DSIR or let the DFC go off the reservation – that happened under a less scrupulous generation. And that's saying something.

                • Ad

                  Agree every government has contributed to where we are. Holyoake didn't set up an equivalent to Temasek, didn't tax water use, didn't try to keep Glaxo here, didn't support the development of a local stock exchange, didn't do anything useful from the wool collapse, didn't prepare use for CER, didn't build on Sutch's work, didn't support union shopfloor productivity, didn't do much at all.

                  • Stuart Munro

                    Doesn't let Treasury off the hook though – they are useless. All this stuff about an aging society – what do they suppose insecure low-wage employment and a housing bubble created by capital inflows does for working folk meaning to raise a family? Too stupid to live – and these are the folk who, for some reason, pull in big bucks. A bit of competence in economics wouldn't go amiss.

  9. Incognito 11

    New Zealand Labour/Greens support up to 58.5% – highest since the election


  10. Chris 12

    Finally someone's come up with the answer. If only everybody did what Anja Meredith's done…everyone would own their own home. About time people began taking responsibility!


    • Roy Cartland 12.1

      Wow that makes me sick. How on earth is this even remotely 'productive'?

      • Jester 12.1.1

        You could do it too if you wanted. Borrowing money has never been cheaper. I say good on her, but there is a risk involved and a lot of people (probably like yourself) are not willing to take that risk.

    • Drowsy M. Kram 12.2

      Meredith says all her disciplines create "self confidence & happiness" – good on her for chasing her dreams. Not for everyone though, and not for me – sounds exhausting.

      • Chris 12.2.1

        These kinds of stories have attached the subtext "everybody can do it if the really want to so if you don't want to you don't really want it so everything's your own fault". The irony is that if everyone had that dream house prices would shoot through to the next galaxy, even less people would own their own home, homelessness increases and so on. These one percenter stories that are dressed up to tell us things aren't that bad are like a pyramid scheme – the more people believe them the worse things get. The flipside is that perpetuating these stories is in the interests of one group, and to the detriment of another.

    • RosieLee 12.3


    • McFlock 12.4

      move out of the way "avacado smash", the reason for low home ownership is evening TV and not getting up early enough.

    • Tiger Mountain 12.5

      Does the Real Estate industry sponsor this crap one might wonder?

      Every few weeks a story pops up about say, a 17 year old with two flyer rounds, and a strong work ethic, who has bought a block of flats or something–“anyone prepared to work hard and give away the coffee can do it” the little weasel says …until the reader discovers a loan or assistance from family etc. actually kickstarted the process.

      Many middle class families know with certainty that their kids will never raise a deposit in the current environment, unless their parents are in a position to cough up.

      That is why Labour has got it so wrong imo–the switch voters, and “doing oks” they are pandering to, along with their slavish defence of neoliberal hegemony, would actually like to see their own kids in houses!

      • Pat 12.5.1

        "Does the Real Estate industry sponsor this crap one might wonder?"

        'Sponsor' may be a little too explicit…..encourage shall we say (along with the other vested interests)

  11. Incognito 13

    "The government's latest argument is that other countries need the vaccine more than we do. Taken to its logical conclusion, that would mean no vaccines for New Zealanders for many years to come, which even the government isn't proposing."


    As Mr Spock would say: “Mr Bishop, you are a moron”.

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